Security wishlist

Notebook

Writing SearchMash, there’s a lot of security features I wish I had access to.

  • One way access to frames
  • My big headache is running external, untrusted HTML in a frame that has full access to my applet. There should be a way to set a frame with programmatic content, but not allow any scripts in it access to other frames. I believe that the security=restricted frame attribute might allow this in IE, but it’s not supported by the other browsers.

  • Disabling scripting for frames
  • I’d be happy if I could turn off scripting entirely for a particular frame. This is what my blacklisting code does, but it seems like it would be a lot easier and more robust to do it at the browser level.

  • Turn off cookies for Java
  • I don’t want my page fetches to send cookies, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to disable this when running an applet inside the browser.

  • Signed scripts
  • These apparently allow JavaScript scripts the same privileges as signed Java applets. I say apparently because they’re only supported by the netscape family, so since I care about supporting IE, I haven’t tried them. If MS supported signed scripts, it would remove the need for a Java runtime. I don’t think it would solve any of the real security isses though.

    Most of these requests are for more finegrained control over the security restrictions within the browser. It’s mostly things that are exposed to the user as global switches anyway (like disabling cookies or JavaScript), so it doesn’t seem like it should be problematic to allow increased restrictions when required. I think they would make writing a secure Ajax app a lot easier.

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